Thunder general manager Sam Presti has never been one much for the status quo.
The same was true on Thursday night, when the Oklahoma City Thunder selected international prospect Josh Giddey with the sixth overall pick.
As a group of teenaged musical singing sensations dancing on lunchroom tables put it, “If you wanna be cool, follow one simple rule, don’t mess with the flow,”
But Presti’s made his name messing with the flow. And Giddey could be his masterpiece.
Giddey was Oklahoma City’s highest overall pick since taking James Harden third n the 2009 draft. It’s become clear following the draft that Giddey would’ve been gone at No. 7 had Golden State gotten their wish.
But even Giddey was more than likely surprised at being selected sixth. After all, he didn't much see himself as an NBA caliber player until recently.
“I was good at basketball but I just didn’t think I’d be in the position I am now,” Giddey said before the draft. “My goal was to be a good NBL player. The NBA was always a dream, but it didn’t become a reality until probably six to 12 months ago.”
In 28 games with the Adelaide 36ers, Giddey averaged 10.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and a league-leading 7.6 assists.
Far-and-away the top passer and playmaker in the draft, Giddey stands at 6-foot-8, using his unique size and skill to see over the defense. Presti seems determined to all have members of Oklahoma City’s young core being able to dish the ball and Giddey will very soon be their best option.
Constantly surveying the floor and looking to get his teammates involved, Giddey has an unteachable natural passing ability with either hand. He’ll be able to take a tremendous amount of pressure off of OKC’s current handlers. It's a winning quality that will eventually translate to winning basketball.
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And Presti's got to get the Thunder back where they belong.
His fit next to current Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is an interesting one.
He has an extremely fluid handle and feel for the game for his size. He’s listed as a guard and has the game to match. Giddey can get by defenders and use a barrage of finishing moves around the rim. Early in his career, that’s where he’ll make his living.
Giddey is a solid in the pick-and-roll, and should thrive in for Oklahoma City.
The former 36er is also a premier rebounder with great feel of when to go grab the ball.
Giddey’s shooting and defense are currently his two biggest problems, two that he himself acknowledges in his pre-draft interviews.
His shooting mechanics need work. He doesn’t have a high release and can’t generate a ton of spin on the ball, but its not unfixable, especially for an 18-year-old.
Giddey’s also not entirely explosive, but as recent history in the form of Luka Doncic has shown us, elite athleticism isn’t a must in today’s NBA.
Fans will get their first look in the Thunder blue on Aug. 8 when Oklahoma City takes on Detroit in the 2021 NBA Summer League.